What Does a Clicking Noise in the Throat Indicate?

Clicking noises in the throat may indicate a condition called globus pharyngeus if a feeling of a lump in the throat accompanies the clicking, explains Dr. Paul Grin for HealthTap. The condition results from tightening of the cricopharyngeal muscle, notes Dr. Christopher Chang for Fauquier Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants of Virginia.

One reason for the cricopharyngeal muscle tightening is stress, and it is not uncommon for patients with globus pharyngeus to be in the middle of or have recently experienced a stressful life situation, such as a divorce, death of a loved one or finals week at school, states Dr. Chang. Another common reason the muscle tightens is reflux. In this case, the cricopharyngeal muscle tightens up in an attempt to keep stomach acid from traveling upward. Although patients with globus pharyngeus as a result of reflux do not usually experience heartburn, doctors often treat the condition with the same medications to treat acid reflux patients.

A less-common cause of globus pharyngeus symptoms is the presence of an actual mass in the throat region, notes Dr. Chang. This can result from a swollen thyroid, cyst or cancerous growth. It is especially rare for the thyroid gland to be at fault for the feeling of a lump in the throat, as this usually only happens when the thyroid is extremely enlarged or encircling the esophagus.